Part of the healing process is sharing with people who care. I have been so fortunate in these last few years to meet some amazing people on my journey. It’s not selfish to work on you and it’s not selfish to talk about how you feel. It is selfish to not allow yourself to talk, share and heal. I have learned this along the way.
Growing and healing beyond the emotional and physical scars of childhood or even adulthood can be a challenge for many. It is one of the hardest endeavours you will dive into. The emotions, memories and pain sometimes bring back some of the worst of memories and the feeling of shame which is fucking painful.
Shame can lead us to feel as though our whole self is flawed, bad, or subject to exclusion. It motivates us to hide or to do something to save face. So it is no wonder that shame avoidance can lead to withdrawal or to addictions that attempt to mask its impact. Shame holds one back from healing. It also allows for unhealthy relationships to enter your life.
If you were a victim of childhood abuse or neglect, you know about shame. You have likely been plagued by it all your life without identifying it as shame. You may feel shame because you blame yourself for the abuse itself (“My father wouldn’t have hit me if I had minded him”) or because you felt such humiliation at having been abused (“I feel like such a wimp for not defending myself”).
Shame is contagious and many of us take on the lethal projections of shame from a partner–especially one who is abusive. We got used to this treatment, therefore we have allowed it to continue. In this same way, shame is especially difficult, if not toxic. I was in this type of relationship. I felt shame for every move I made. I didn’t text enough, I didn’t call enough, I wasn’t “normal” and I was never enough. Yes, these are words that were said to me, but due to my deep-rooted childhood abuse, I started to believe I was in the wrong ALL THE TIME. I allowed this verbal abuse into my life because I believed it.
It led to a very toxic relationship and it led me to behaviours I am forever not proud of. I reacted because I wasn’t healed inside. I reacted because the verbal cut downs were too much of an unhealed past that I didn’t realize I wasn’t healed from. I didn’t stand up for myself.
I can say my partner wasn’t healed from her past either. Her words were of her upbringing and my reactions were of my upbringing. It ended in a very toxic relationship. It bought out much pain, and so much anger and sadness that I had no clue still lived inside of me. I had to face the demons of my past along with some unfinished healing. I became that “wounded child” with-in my adult self. I owned that I needed to take some steps in my life to get healthy again.
What is really fucking hard is knowing you are a professional adult, successful, helping many people daily, being a teacher, a life coach, the motivator, yet you are the one that fell down. It took time to digest those feelings.
I have learned from this process. I am a leader, the motivator, but I am also a human who survived some shit. Without that shit, I wouldn’t have become a teacher, a life/fitness coach and I wouldn’t be sitting here vulnerable writing parts of my story to help you! I feel thankful for my past. I feel thankful that my gut was stronger than my mind at times. I feel thankful that for some reason I had a “I can do better than this” push with-in me. You have that push too. Sometimes it is just buried deep, but trust me, it is there.
Recognizing you are not healed and what you are in is toxic, is so important. Sometimes hitting rock bottom, as I call it “the deep black hole” is what it takes.
“I AM A SURVIVOR.”
It took me years to be able to say that. I felt if I used the word “survivor” then I had to fully admit I wasn’t fully healed. Each stage of my life has lead to a different kind of healing. IT is okay to heal in stages. There is no quick fix to years of abuse, no matter the type of abuse. There is no time limit, no set amount of counseling or life coaching. The time is with-in you, and you only. It’s your journey, your process and how you can grow with-in yourself with your experiences. How can you turn your shit into a positive?
“I AM A SURVIVOR!”
Those are not words I use lightly.
During my healing journey, I wrote a letter to my child self from my adult self of today. It is pretty damn deep of emotions, and it took me 2 months to write. I couldn’t understand the assignment I was given to write to my child self….but once I started to write I couldn’t stop. It was amazing. The weight that fell off of me when I signed my name was unbelievable. It was such a healing process for me and allowed me to forgive my abuser. Something I never felt was possible.
My journey has been LONG. It will forever be a journey, but forever a journey in the right direction. Healing, understanding and knowing I will never fall into a deep black hole again is empowering. My journey has taught me to understand triggers and walking away from toxic situations. I feel empowered.
EMPOWERMENT is the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights. Empowerment feels like, FREEDOM and INSPIRATION to me.
If you have experienced a traumatic event or a difficult childhood it may help to:
- Think about the personal strength that you showed to survive these events. Even if you made some mistakes or did some things you regret, you did what you had to do to survive and that is something to be proud of.
- Think about the things that you have put in your life currently that make it meaningful, be it relationships, your work, your faith, or taking care of your family. Try to find everyday positives in the life you have now.
- Think about what you have learned from going through these difficulties, and about how you might use this knowledge to help yourself and other people.
- Know that growth and hope can coexist with grief and that there will be ups and downs. Learn to anticipate and manage these. Be gentle with yourself on days when it is just too difficult to see the positive.
As a trauma survivor, I’ve done everything possible to push aside my most painful memories. While I’ve always considered myself a no-nonsense, “face the truth” type of person, it took me, literally, decades to realize that I was living in denial about what happened to me so many years ago. I also allowed those experiences to connect me with people that frankly were not good enough/healthy for me.
The number of people that suffer in silence, continues to grow. Healing from trauma may be uncomfortable and painstaking at times; no one said it was easy. But once you embark on your healing journey, you’ll realize how exciting and rewarding it can be to reconnect with the beautiful intricacies that make you, you.
KNOW THAT YOU ARE MEANT TO SURVIVE THROUGH YOUR TRAUMA AS WELL. We can set up a FREE phone conference to discuss the healing journey you are ready to embark on. Send me an email and lets schedule a time. I look forward to helping you find peace with-in yourself and growing to be your best.
Becky Shaffer/ Author/ Educator /Life Coach-Adult/Adolescent/ Fitness Coach/ Bashaffer14@gmail.com